Are they ‘getting it?’

kidsandjesusThe sanctuary was full of children; singing, noisy, inquisitive kids!  This is not your Grandma’s VBS. The music is loud, the lesson illustrated with science labs. Active learning is the order of the day! I’m a happy man during Vacation Bible School week. Men, women, teens, and young adults (a team of more than 50 people) come together to make it happen. An amazing amount of effort is invested, hours beyond my calculating. And, for what? Are we just giving 250 kids a happy experience? That is part of it, but there is much more. Our mission is to transmit the simple, radically life-changing truth that there is a living God who loves each one of us and that we can know Him now. Thursday is the high point, when the message of Jesus and His cross are the focus.

Few things weigh more heavily on me in my calling than the question of handing the faith to the next generation. The Good News about Christ is timeless, but the words and methods used to transmit that message, the ways in which we worship Him, change to engage each generation.  My Baby Boomer perspective is clearly different than that of my grandchildren. Part of my fascination with the effort this week is the way that the Story is told. It is not just verbal, as it was for me 50 years ago. It is visual, experiential, the Message set in a context that engaged nearly all the senses, all the while making sure that the ‘wow’ does not replace the core Truth. Deep emotions stirred in me as I stood in the back of the rooms where I could see that 8 year olds were engaged. “Spirit of God, finish the work!” was the prayer I breathed over and over.

Are you concerned about the spiritual health of your children? Is there any evidence that they are becoming disciples of Christ? Do you wonder if they are ‘getting it?’

Take a cue from the Vacation Bible School. Don’t just lecture. Make sure that “Jesus” is not just a word for Sunday morning or reserved for special occasions. Give the Gospel a place in everyday, each moment. Contextualize Christ in ordinary life experiences.  Moses taught the People of God to do this. “Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9, The Message)

The Gospel is as much ‘caught’ as it is ‘taught.’  We must demonstrate its reality if we have much hope of the next generation taking up the Call.

Here is a word from the Word. “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” (Acts 2:38-40, NIV)

_______________

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white;
All are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world!

 Jesus calls the children dear,
“Come to me and never fear,
For I love the little children of the world.
I will take you by the hand,
Lead you to a better land,
For I love the little children of the world.”

 I am coming, Lord, to Thee
And Your soldier I will be,
For You love the little children of the world.
And your cross I’ll always bear,
And for you I’ll do and dare,
For You love the little children of the world. 

Jesus Loves The Little Children
Clare Herbert Woolston | George Frederick Root
© Words: Public Domain

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